Friday, December 30, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 1, 2017

Over 119,000 readers worldwide

(Sing a new song of praise to GOD)
(Psalm 33)

   In Psalm 33, the psalmist, who is likely King David (it is ascribed to him by the Septuagint), calls on the Israelites and all those who love the LORD, to praise HIM with song and instrumental music. He exhorts them to praise HIM because of HIS Word, HIS promise of salvation, the hope HE brings to our lives, HIS dependability, and, HIS righteousness.
    “Spontaneous praise” to GOD is something that should be common among our daily existence because it is so fitting. It should be a natural response by all who benefit from HIS wonderful blessings, which, quite frankly, includes all mankind, even those individuals who don’t profess to be followers of CHRIST, and HIS doctrine. Every individual on earth benefits from what we deem as “the LORD’s general and ordinary grace and mercy (blessings)”. We all have the privilege, for instance, of breathing HIS air, drinking HIS water, and ingesting HIS food and nourishments.
    New daily mercies and grace that comes from GOD should always merit new praise and worship to GOD, every day also. As Christians sincerely focus on GOD’s grace and mercy, they should also focus on HIS Will and mission for their lives, and then, appropriately, express to GOD, their love and affection for HIM.
    This hymn of praise may have been inspired by a victory by the Israelites over one of their adversaries, however, there is no evidence as to which of their many conquests it may have been. And even though we can’t be sure when it was written, it strongly suggests that a significant event had just concluded. Verses 16-17, suggests that it may very well have been a major military victory that was obviously accomplished by some miraculous act of GOD.
     This psalm not only calls for us to worship GOD, but it also tells us “who should worship GOD”, “how to worship GOD”, and “why one should worship GOD”. First of all it is “fitting” that “the righteous should worship GOD” for extending to them, righteousness through CHRIST JESUS. Righteousness serves as an outward sign that one belongs to the LORD. When we praise HIM openly, we give honor to the source of our righteousness, WHO is GOD, in the presence of others (v.1).
    Next, Christians are given instructions on how to “worship GOD with music and singing”. In verse 2 musicians are instructed to worship GOD with their skillfulness on their musical instruments. Those who are blessed with singing talents should also praise GOD with a loud voice (v.3). Their musical compositions should originate in the Church, and not in the world. GOD despises the mixing of the holy with the profane in music, and in every other aspect and area of our lives.
    The Word of the LORD is always right, and thus, all of HIS works are done in truth, and are in harmony with reality. HE loves both “righteousness” and “judgment” (v.5a), and the whole earth, despite the evilness that we bring to it, is full of HIS goodness (v.5b). We should worship GOD because of HIS faithfulness to uphold righteousness and goodness in a world, that, through the influence of satan, we seem bent on destroying.
    The LORD “spoke into existence” all the things in Heaven, and everything that is “natural” that we see here on earth. He gave the seas their boundaries, and told the sun where to rise and set. He instructed the moon not to show itself until the evening, and all of the stars HE knows by name. And so everyone should fear the amazing GOD WHOSE plans are sovereign and will stand firm forever (Vs.6-11).
    As a nation, we seem to have forgotten, over time, what joy we experienced when the overwhelming majority of us honored the LORD as our GOD. Nowadays, not even the majority of the professed Christian Church shows, through their actions and behavior, that they really honor the LORD, our CREATOR, FORGIVER, and GUIDE. The LORD looks down upon us daily and sees the “degeneration” of the entire human race that HE created, provides for, forgives, and desires to lead into all righteousness (Vs.12-16).
    The best equipped army cannot save a king, apart from GOD. We cannot afford to rely on our individual strength, nor our unified strength as a nation, to save us from destruction. Only the GOD, WHO sees us, can rescue us from ourselves. We must rely on HIM alone to save us, provide for us, and guide us with the wisdom that we need to overcome this world, just as CHRIST did. And so, it is all mankind who should “Praise the LORD!”

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, December 23, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 25, 2016

Over 119,000 readers worldwide

(JESUS was born to save us)
(Luke 2:1-20)

   Luke chapter two, verses 1-2, are the verses in Scripture that come closest to giving us the exact birth year of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. In Luke 2:1-7, the author of GOD writes of the 90-mile trip, of Joseph and Mary, from Nazareth to Bethlehem to honor “the census decree” that had been imposed by the Emperor, Caesar Augustus.
    The decree was put into place for the purpose of “assessing taxes”, and discovering those who were liable for “compulsory military service”. The Jews, however, were exempt from serving in the military, so basically, the census for them was taken expressly for “taxation purposes”. These census’ were periodical in nature, and the count came “once every 14 years”. Man has in his possession, actual documentation of every Roman census taken from A.D. 20 to A.D. 270.
    Luke 2:1-2, are the verses of scripture that are most reliable in actually determining the year of JESUS’ birth into this world as a 100% human being. Here Luke tells us that it was at the time of this particular census that was imposed by Caesar Augustus, that Joseph and Mary (who was quite far along in her pregnancy with baby JESUS), had to travel to Bethlehem, the home of Joseph’s ancestry, to be counted. Every person, by law, had to return to their original place of ancestry in order to register for this census count.
    Luke also tells us in verse 2, that, it was during the time when Cyrenius (Quirinius) was serving as Roman governor to Syria. Roman records show that Cyrenius served in an official capacity on two separate occasions, first, from 10 B.C. to 7 B.C., and later, in A.D. 6-7. Roman records also show that Caesar Augustus served as Roman Emperor, from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14. What that tells us is, that, the census records that man now possesses, most likely begins with the third 14-year census count, and, that the first count must have been during Cyrenius’ first term in office (10 B.C.-7 B.C.).
    We also know, from Scripture (Matthew 2:13-17), that “Herod the Great”, who was king over Judea at that time, issued a decree to kill all infants in and around Bethlehem, up to the age of 2, in an attempt to kill baby JESUS. Since Roman records show that Herod died in 4 B.C., we know that JESUS had already been born. And if the 14-year cycle of the census count holds true, and, in light of all the Biblical and secular facts that we have, we can, with reasonable certainty, deduce that JESUS was born in 8 B.C., during that first census count.
    All of this information is something good and special for the serious Bible students to know, but the Good News of the birth of CHRIST JESUS is something good and special for everyone to know. The term “Hypostatic Union” is one that can only be used in reference to CHRIST JESUS. It refers to HIS unique “theanthropic personage” (both “divine” and “human” in nature and quality), being 100% perfect man, as GOD originally made Adam (without sin), and, 100% GOD, as GOD the FATHER HIMSELF is.
    HE served us here on earth, as 100% perfect man, to show us how we could live if we maintained a willingness to obey GOD at all times. Through HIS FATHER GOD’s mercy and grace, and HIS OWN obedience to GOD, JESUS died for us because HE knew we would not obey GOD. In fact, man has long ago, since the time of the Garden of Eden, convinced himself that he really can’t obey GOD completely, despite GOD sharing with us, the same “spiritual attributes”, or “divine nature”, that HE sent CHRIST to rescue us with.
    However, as I said earlier, because of GOD’s faithfulness, mercy, and grace, we can now rejoice in the knowledge that there does now exist, the “Christian Hope”. It is the Hope that arises out of the “New Covenant” that was ushered in, and is personified by, our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, which HE signed with HIS OWN blood. That is why no one will ever be able to go into the presence of GOD, except through JESUS. HE, alone, will forever be, the only way to the ONLY WISE SOVEREIGN GOD. We only need to repent of our sins and accept CHRIST with our mouth, and, more importantly, in our heart, as our LORD and SAVIOR.
    Luke’s clear and straightforward account of JESUS’ birth, goes a long ways toward anchoring these events in history, and then, linking them to prophesy. He helps us to see that “Biblical history” is “World history”, and, that they will forever be inseparable and synonymous with each other because of GOD, WHO is the origin of both.
    The announcement of JESUS’ birth, from on High, came first to “the lowly Shepherds in the fields”, where they worked and kept watch over their sheep. In the first century, Shepherds were on the bottom rung of the “social” and “economic” ladder, and they were, by way of their meager lifestyles, “the most humble” of people.
    In Luke 2:8-20, we once again get a glimpse of the “Three Great Revolutions of GOD”, and what their importance would be in the coming “Christian Movement”. We saw it first in the writings and utterances of the Old Testament saints (i.e. 1 Samuel 2:3-8). In the New Testament we see it in Mary’s song of praise, known as the “Magnificat” (which in Latin means “My soul doeth magnify the LORD”) (Luke 1: 51-53). There it says, in effect, that GOD will use the birth, life, and ministry of CHRIST, and, Christianity, to uphold and defend the lowly and the humble.
    First of all, those who truly understand Christianity know that it is designed to uphold “humbleness”, and by nature, means the death of “pride”. Secondly, Christianity is aimed at stamping out “social injustice”. Every Prophet of GOD that has come to us was a champion of the fight against social injustice. GOD is extremely interested in “justice” and “being just”. That is why we find the word “just” written in Scripture over 90 times and the word “justice” 28 times.
    And thirdly, Christianity is aimed at combating prejudices based on one’s “economic status”. Money, prosperity, and material things almost always turn a person’s heart away from GOD. So it becomes quite clear, the appropriateness, of announcing the “good news” first to ordinary folks, rather than to the rich. 
    And so, during this coming, and every Christmas season to come, let us strive to stay focused on the real reason for our celebration, and also let us, once again, use that time to commemorate the coming of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, and, to celebrate the love, brilliance, largesse, and mercy, of the ONLY WISE GOD the FATHER, for sending to us, HIS only begotten SON, to save us from ourselves, and the wiles of satan.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, December 16, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 18, 2016

Over 118,000 readers worldwide

(The forerunner of the SAVIOR)
(Luke 1:5-25)

   Luke’s writings in his Gospel account are the most literary of all New Testament books. His distinctive fluid style in the original Greek text is simply a thing of beauty. Unlike the other three Gospels, whose contents can be traced back to eyewitness accounts of JESUS’ life here on earth, Luke’s Gospel is a detailed account that is a result of careful and thorough investigative research into the events surrounding and involving CHRIST’s birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension back into Heaven. And just like in the case of the other Gospel writers, GOD assigns his writings to attract a particular audience by stressing special and unique interest themes.
    Most scholars agree that Luke’s Gospel account is written to attract the attention of the “Hellenist”, or, “the person who is rooted in the Greek culture (Gentiles)”. And despite being ever mindful of CHRIST’s deity, Luke is also brilliantly able to present JESUS’ as the ideal 100% human being (the Hypostatic Union), WHO, quite simply, redefines excellence to even the most righteous of men here on earth. In fact, HE shows quite literally that all men’s righteousness is derived through their obedience to GOD.
    Luke also shows, more clearly than the other Gospels, just how greatly JESUS values those who are often dismissed by society, such as women, the impoverished, the downtrodden, and, the powerless. In his Gospel account he shows us that, in JESUS, excellence is not looked upon as a “personal superiority”, that, in itself, “devalues others”, but rather, in JESUS, we see a “divine standard” that is bent on “raising others up”, resurrecting them into a life that is more pleasing to GOD. And so, in the aforementioned ways, perhaps Luke’s Gospel provides us with the most accurate, and most attractive portrait of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, that can found anywhere else in Scripture, arguably perhaps, even more so the book of Hebrews.  
    In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “messenger” is “aggelos” (pronounced ang-el-os), and it describes “one who brings news or tidings by divine order from GOD”. Here in Luke chapter 1, after a brief introduction in verses 1-4, Luke writes of an angelic announcement of the coming birth of the “forerunner to CHRIST JESUS”, John “the Baptist”.
    Taking up at verse 5, Luke begins his Gospel account by introducing to us, a Jewish Levite Priest named Zechariah, who, lived during the time when “Herod the Great” was king of Judea (37 B.C. – 4 B.C.). He was a member of the priestly line of Abijah, who was a descendant of Aaron, and, who was a priest during the reign of King David. Zechariah was married to a woman named Elizabeth, who was also a descendant of Aaron. They were both considered “righteous” in the sight of GOD because of their obedience, and they had no children because Elizabeth was barren. This aging couple had long prayed to GOD for a child, and little did they know that their prayers were about to be answered.
    Zechariah had recently been chosen by “sacred lot” (“Urim and Thummin”) to serve for a week in the Temple, an opportunity that came only once in a lifetime for most priests. One day, as he was serving his term of duty burning incense in the LORD’s presence, in the sanctuary of the temple at Jerusalem, he received a visit from the Archangel of the LORD, Gabriel (Vs.8-9). Gabriel is one the famed archangels that stands in the very presence of the LORD in Heaven.
    Here Gabriel gives Zechariah the good news of GOD’s answer to his and Elizabeth’s longtime prayer for a son. The child would be named “John”, and would be great in the eyes of the LORD. He would be a man blessed with the spirit (courage) and power (authority) of “Elijah the Prophet” of old, and would be “the forerunner” for, or “prepare the minds of the people, particularly the Jews, for” the coming of JESUS, the CHRIST (HIS first advent) (Vs.13-17). However, Zechariah, despite his direct word of good news from GOD, and because he was applying “human logic” to the things of GOD, had great doubt in his heart, and was hesitant to believe that he and Elizabeth could conceive a child in their old age (v.18).
    This particular passage serves to remind us that GOD expects more faith from those who are called to be HIS leaders, and, who are supposed to know and understand the ways of the LORD more thoroughly. And HE also expects more from a professed Christian than HE does from an unbeliever. Here Zechariah shows the doubt of an untrained layperson, instead of the faith and trust of an experienced spiritual leader and man after GOD’s OWN heart. This unbelief miffs the LORD, WHO sent Gabriel, and as a result, Zechariah’s ability to speak is taken away from him until the birth of his son, John, several months later (Vs.19-20).
    GOD had to silence Zechariah because of his words of unbelief that were, unfortunately, contrary to the fulfillment of the covenant promise. He was a man who was versed in Scripture, and was very familiar with the example of Abraham and Sarah giving birth to Isaac at ages that, even far exceeded he and Elizabeth’s. And yet, he found it hard to believe that such a thing could happen to them under similar circumstances.
    Christians are called to believe, and when we pray and ask in faith, in JESUS’ name, for the things that are within GOD’s Will, we are called by GOD to believe that HE will deliver. In other words, when we pray to GOD for rain, we ought not to leave home without, at least, an umbrella. We need to, at all times, show at least, a minimum amount of faith (faith, the size of a mustard seed) in the GOD we say we serve.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Friday, December 9, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 11, 2016

Over 117,000 readers worldwide

(Rejoice in what GOD is doing)
(Luke 1:39-56)

   In Luke 1, verses 39-45, just a few days after Mary had been visited by the archangel Gabriel, she traveled to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah, the husband of her cousin Elizabeth lived. When she entered their house and greeted, a now, six month pregnant Elizabeth, the sound of her voice caused the child that her cousin was carrying to leap in her womb with joy.
    Being filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, Elizabeth herself gave a cry of joy and exclaimed to Mary, “You are “blessed” (in the Greek “eulogeo”, which means “well spoken of”) by GOD above all other women, and your child is blessed. What an honor this is, that the mother of my LORD should visit me! When you came in and greeted me, my baby jumped for joy the instant I heard your voice! You are blessed because you believed that the LORD would do what HE said” (NLT).
    Luke 1:46-55 is the passage that, over the years, has become one of the great hymns of the universal Christian Church as a whole, and is known world-wide as the “Magnificat”. The term, Magnificat, is taken from the “Latin Vulgate” (the first Latin translation of the bible), which was written by Jerome at the end of the fourth century A.D., and it means, “My soul doth magnify the LORD”.
    This song, which was first uttered by Mary, the mother of JESUS, praises GOD for HIS favor on her and her people (Vs. 51-55). Some scholars tend to doubt that a young uneducated country girl, such as Mary, could have composed such a wonderful and prophetic poem, however, common sense dictates that she, or anyone else, who was in a close personal relationship with GOD, and were fairly familiar with the Old Testament passages which are alluded to in this song, is capable of expressing these thoughts of praise that we find here.
    Apparently, Mary saw herself as a part of the GODly remnant that had served her LORD with all diligence. We see in verse 47, for instance, where she calls GOD, “my SAVIOR”, shows she had a deep intimate knowledge of HIM. She also speaks of GOD’s faithfulness, power, holiness, and mercy in verses 48-50, showing that her relationship with GOD was “an experiential one”.
    This timeless stretch of biblical literature, has, contained within it, four distinct parts which should be noted by every reader:

·         First, there is “great personal adoration and thanks to GOD” (Vs. 46-48). In the biblical Greek, the word “makarizo” (mak-ar-id-zo) is used in verse 46 for “blessed”, and it actually means “supremely blest”, or, “beatified”. It describes, in this passage, what it is like to be “indwelt by GOD, and thereby, fully satisfied”. Mary was completely satisfied and honored by the wonderful, and unexpected way, in which GOD chose to use her body for HIS purpose.
·         Secondly, there is “a celebration of GOD’s attributes” (Vs. 49-50). Mary celebrated GOD’s goodness and she cherished all that HE had done for her, and she also appreciated the fact that HIS mercy extended throughout all generations, for all times.
·         Thirdly, we see her “praising GOD for correcting pride, social injustice, and economic disparities” (Vs. 51-53), “GOD’s three great moral revolutions”. These moral rebellions can also be found in the make-up of Christianity itself. We see, first of all:

(a). “GOD’s revolution against pride (v.51), where Mary notes that, “GOD scatters the
        proud and haughty ones” (NLT). When Christianity is practiced properly, it
        automatically means death to “pride”. A person cannot possibly set their life beside
        the life of CHRIST without, first, tearing every ounce of pride from him, or herself.

(b). “GOD’s revolution against social injustice” (v.52) “HE has taken the princes from their
         thrones and exalted the lowly” (NLT). When Christianity is practiced properly, it
         means death to “social injustice”. It puts an end to race, labels, and prestige, because
         what CHRIST did for one, HE intended for all. No man is favored in the eyes of GOD,
         but also, we can call no man worthless, or common, for whom JESUS CHRIST has
         died. HE died for all men in general, and all Christians, in particular.

(c). “GOD’s revolution against economic disparity” (v.53) “HE has satisfied the hungry
        with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands” (NLT). When Christianity
        is practiced properly, it means death to “economic disparity and greed”. A “Christian
        Society” is a community of believers who dares to have too much, while others don’t
        even have enough. The attitude of a believer in CHRIST JESUS, is “one that desires to
        have more, in order that they may have more to give away”.

·         In the fourth and final part (Vs. 54-55), we see Mary “giving GOD praise for the mercy shown to Israel”.  There she cites that, “How GOD has helped HIS servant Israel! HE has not forgotten HIS promise to be merciful. HE promised our ancestors, Abraham and his children, to be merciful to them forever” (NLT).

    Even at her young age we can clearly see that Mary knew for sure that her blessing and charge of giving birth to the SON of GOD was not all about her, but rather, it was about a “covenant promise” that was established with Abraham and her fore-fathers, long before she was ever thought about. 
    It was William Barclay who wrote, concerning this wonderful passage of scripture, that, “There is loveliness in the Magnificat, but within that loveliness, there is also, dynamite”. And he was right. And so Mary went on to birth our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, and JESUS CHRIST birthed Christianity into the world, and Christianity birthed a revolution in civilization against pride, social injustice, and economic disparity. And now, mankind must take up that fight, and continue that revolution, throughout the world.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Friday, December 2, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 4, 2016

Over 117,000 readers worldwide

(GOD fulfills HIS promises)
(Luke 1:26-38)

   In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the archangel, Gabriel returns to earth to deliver another message from GOD. This time he visits the tiny town of Nazareth in Galilee, the home of a young teenaged virgin named Mary. Mary was engaged to marry a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Gabriel’s charge, on this visit, was to give young Mary shocking news of GOD’s plan to bless the world through her, with the “Immaculate Conception” of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, WHOM HIMSELF would be, the ultimate MESSENGER (Luke 1:26-28).
    The long-awaited MESSIAH, WHO had been forecasted by ancient prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and the likes, would be sent by GOD to usher in a “New Covenant” that would liberate all mankind, from under the dominion of sin. It would be a covenant that would allow anyone, who believes in the MESSIAH, to receive the gift of eternal life, through that “saving faith”. It would then become the duty of HIS followers to build their spiritual foundations on that “most high faith”. As Christians, they would learn to pray and communicate to GOD in the power of the, soon to come, HOLY SPIRIT, and, through regular “Holy Communion Services”, were to always remember the conditions of this covenant, under which, the love of CHRIST has called us, and then signed in HIS OWN blood.
    When Gabriel appeared to Mary he greeted her as “favored woman” (“charitoo” – khar-ee-to-o) (v.28), starling her, out of whatever it was that she was doing. Gabriel then tells her that GOD had decided to bless her with a unique pregnancy. He told her that she was chosen to give birth to the SON of the Most High GOD. Gabriel told her, in essence, that the CHILD would not be conceived as a result of the sexual passions of men, but rather, the HOLY SPIRIT would come upon her and the power of GOD would “overshadow” her.
    In the biblical Greek, the word used here for “overshadow” is, “episkiazo” (ep-ee-skee-ad-zo), and it means “to “envelope” (completely cover) in a haze of brilliancy”, and, “to invest with “preternatural” (beyond the normal course of nature) influence”. In other words, GOD would cover Mary with “an invisible haze of protection” that would allow her to fulfill her term of pregnancy without outside influence from the forces of satan, here on earth. GOD would make her “insignificant”, taking personal control of her existence throughout the duration of her pregnancy with the SON that she was instructed by Gabriel to name “JESUS”.   
    Confused and disturbed, young Mary struggled to try and phantom, just what the message of the angel meant. She wondered aloud, asking the angel how a woman could become pregnant without having sexual intercourse with a man. Gabriel explains to her that, through the power of GOD, she would conceive, by way of the HOLY SPIRIT, and that the child she would birth, would be the Holy SON of GOD (Luke 1:34-35). Suddenly, the young girl’s “confusion and fear” turned to “joy and appreciation”. She responded, “I am the LORD’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever HE wants. May everything you said come true” (Luke 1:38) (NLT).
    When we believe in GOD, in all of HIS fullness, holiness, and eternal righteousness, it becomes easy to accept whatever HE sends our way. We then understand that HIS tests are not meant to make us fail, but rather, are sent to make us strong, so that we may become better warriors in the army of CHRIST. We can then serve HIS purpose more completely, as we, at one and the same time, try to survive in a world under siege by the forces of satan.
    GOD, is the writer, producer, director, and star, of the movie of our lives. HE already knows the outcome of HIS OWN divine production. We, on the other hand, are “that which was created”. Therefore, we are the benefactors of the brilliance and largess of the CREATOR HIMSELF. We are mere human players, who only get to see and live in one scene at a time, and so, it becomes only fitting that we place our trust in the omniscience, of the ONLY WISE CREATOR, GOD.
    Mary accepted the message that GOD sent her that day through HIS angel Gabriel, and as a result, every generation since, can’t help but acknowledge the “favor” that GOD showed her, by way of HIS bestowing on her, such a divine role, in the “Covenant Blessing Story”.
    Mary was extremely honored to have any role in GOD’s great and divine work. And, even though it was something unexpected, because it came from GOD, she had faith that it would be for the greater good. And on that day, in the tiny, inconspicuous setting of Nazareth, Mary became the first person on earth to hear the sweet name of “JESUS”, our LORD and SAVIOR (Luke 1:31). And because of this upcoming miraculous event, the world would never, ever, be the same again.
    GOD loves us so much, that HE gave to us as a sacrifice, HIS only begotten SON. And if we will but only believe in HIM, we will not ever perish, and, we can have eternal life in the glorious presence of GOD. That adds the perfect ending to the story of “the human experience” that has been marred by “the destructive fallout of sin”, since the onset of our existence. And I am once again reminded of a favorite quote that seems to sum up the “special effects” of our choice between “Salvation” and “Damnation”:

“The enigmas of life, become, at least, less baffling, when we come to rest in the thought, that this life, is not the final act of the human drama”.

    If we truly believe that GOD is in control, then it shouldn’t be hard to accept whatever HE sends our way in this life. As Christians, we hold dear, the “Divine Promise” of “the ultimate happy ending”, that has been written for us by GOD, since the foundation of this world. 

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, November 25, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 27, 2016

Over 116,000 readers worldwide

(The ultimate happy ending)
(Revelation 22:8-21)

   After hearing all of the wonderful things that the angel had told him in verses 1-7 concerning the New Jerusalem, the Apostle John errantly fell down to his knees to worship him, but again, the angel cautioned against such actions telling John, “No! Don’t worship me. I am a servant of GOD just like you and your brothers, the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this scroll”. “Worship only GOD!” he told John.
    In the book of Daniel, in chapter 12, verse 9, the Prophet Daniel is instructed by GOD to “seal up” his prophesy until the time of the end. In contrast, here in Revelation 22:10, the Apostle John is instructed, “…. not to seal up” these prophetic words you have written, because the time of their fulfillment is near. So let everyone continue doing what they are doing. Let the ones who are doing wrong continue to do wrong; the ones that are vile continue to be vile; the ones who are good continue to be good; and the ones who are holy continue to live in holiness, because I, the LORD AM coming soon with rewards to repay everyone according to their deeds”. The LORD further states, “I AM the ALPHA and the OMEGA, the FIRST and the LAST, the BEGINNING and the END”.
    In the exhortation of verse 11, GOD is not condoning evil, but rather, the divine intent of this verse is to point out the fact that, if people do not heed the prophesy in this book of Revelation, they are only left with the choice of continuing in their own wickedness. By contrast, those who do right will likely continue to do right, as GOD expects no earth-shattering changes in the conduct of mankind, good, or evil, in the near future. However, let it be known to all that their choices will not govern when JESUS will return to judge all people, and to end all days, as man now knows them.
    In verse 14 we find the final of the seven beatitudes that are found in the book of Revelation; “Blessed are those who wash their robes so they can enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the “Tree of Life”. This is simply a phrase that describes the righteous and their acts of obedience to CHRIST’s commandments. They are those mentioned in verses 11b and c, who, started out guilty, but, through their acceptance of CHRIST, have been washed clean by HIS sacrificial blood.
    However, in contrast, those mentioned in verses 11a and b are the ones who will refuse to give up their acts of immorality, and therefore, will forever be characterized by their evil ways and practices, and will be judged in the end according to their evil deeds. They are the unholy people who currently dwell outside of CHRIST, and love to live the lie of immorality that satan has successfully spun in this world.
    And so, we are now left with this very real scenario that currently grips humanity to its core; “The SPIRIT” (the HOLY SPIRIT), and “the Bride” (the true Christian Church that is only found in the hearts of people who truly love GOD) say “come”. Unfortunately, “the lure of this world” and “satan” says the same. The HOLY SPIRIT in us will always seek to compel us toward CHRIST JESUS, but again, unfortunately, the “sin nature” in us will always try and tug us back toward the “world”. The battle that wages on inside of each of us, between “the reason to do right” and “the passion to want to do wrong”, stays with us, long after we accept the gift of salvation. However, through our new-found strength in CHRIST, we can successfully “overcome” the “gravitational pull of this world”, just as JESUS did, and find our place in the “ultimate happy ending” that has been prepared for us by GOD, since the foundation of this world. That place that Luke, Paul, and other New Testament writers call, in the Greek, “paridiso” (par-id-i-so), but we call, “the kingdom of Heaven”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, November 18, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 20, 2016

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(We can have the privilege of serving GOD forever)
(Revelation 22:1-7)

   Here in Revelation 22, the Apostle John is given a few more details by the angel, in his vision concerning the New Jerusalem. Here the angelic tour moves from the exterior of the Holy City to the interior, a place where only those who believe in CHRIST will ever be able to go. In verses 1-2, the first thing that John is shown in the city is the vision of a “River of the waters of Life” that will flow out from the thrones of GOD and the LAMB, CHRIST JESUS. It will be a pure river of waters that will symbolize GOD’s OWN holiness and purity.
    Here in this passage we are presented with a scene that is reminiscent of many of the visions of the Old Testament prophets such as Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47), and Zechariah (Zechariah 14:8), and Joel (Joel 3:18), however, those visions were referencing a literal river that will flow out of the Temple in the Old Jerusalem, and are instead, visions of the coming Millennial Kingdom, the time of CHRIST JESUS’ rule here on earth. The river, here in Revelation 22, is a part of the “New Jerusalem” on the “New earth” that GOD will create after the thousand-year reign of CHRIST on the “old earth”, and after the final defeat of satan at Armageddon.
    John’s vision shows the river coursing its way down the center of the main street of the New Jerusalem. On each side of the river will be a “tree of life” bearing “12 crops of fruit each year, a fresh crop every month. The leaves of those trees will be used as medicine to heal all the nations of the new earth, of all manner of sickness. Each person who enters into the Kingdom of GOD, will be healed, because there can be no curse of illness of any kind in Heaven. Therefore, this River of Life stands as a symbol of the abundant life GOD will provide for all of HIS people who reside there, and it will be theirs for the taking, not only to heal them, but also, to quench their hunger and thirst.
    “The Trees of Life” that are mentioned here in verse 2, is a concept that is already familiar to the Apostle John from his knowledge of the Garden of Eden, and, from the writings of the prophet Ezekiel. In the age to come, the LORD will create trees that will naturally promote life and healing perpetually through a variety of miraculous fruit and foliage. These fruit will not be forbidden to any of the residents of the New Jerusalem, nor will they be restricted to only the use of the Jews, but rather, the benefits of those trees will be available to people of all national origins who reside in the city.   
    And so, in this scene, naturally there will be no person in Heaven who doesn’t know GOD on a personal level, and all who exists will worship the FATHER and the SON. They will see HIS face for the very first time, and HIS name will be written on their foreheads (thoughts of GOD will be on their minds constantly). Nights will cease to exist, and there will be no need for the sun, the moon, or even lamps, because the LORD HIMSELF will shine on everyone. When we are living in eternity, ways of measuring time, such as hours, days, nights, weeks, months, and years, become totally irrelevant and insignificant to our existence (Vs.3-5).
   After reading this passage we should now more clearly understand what JESUS tried to convey to us way back in the Gospel account of the Apostle John (John 6:53-58) where HE states:

 “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the “flesh” (which can be likened to the fruit of the tree in this passage) of the SON of MAN and drink HIS “blood” (which can be likened to the living waters of the river in this passage), you cannot have eternal life within you.  But anyone who eats MY flesh and drinks MY blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. For MY flesh is true food, and MY blood is true drink. Anyone who eats MY flesh and drinks MY blood remains in ME, and I in him. I live because of the LIVING FATHER who sent ME; in the same way, anyone who feeds on ME will live because of ME. I AM the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.” (NLT)
In verse 7 we find the sixth of the seven beatitudes that are found in the book of Revelation (the others are 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, and 22:14), which states, “Blessed are those who obey the prophesy written in this scroll”. The coming of CHRIST JESUS is always “soon”, in the minds of those who believe in HIM. A special blessing is added to those who obey and heed to the prophecies in this, the book of Revelation, as well as the whole of Scripture itself. Indeed, we don’t really love JESUS unless we are willing to obey HIM, and to take on HIS task that HE started in the world when HE resided here physically. We must be willing to take up our own cross, by moving away from sinful behavior, and into unknown righteousness where JESUS resides right now.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website